Food Pantry: Producing healthy students

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Food Pantry: Producing healthy students

Stephani Williams/The Runner. On Tuesday, September 3, 2019, Brandy Plaat, a Biology major, stocks up on fruit at the pop-up Food Pantry. Located near the Student Union and the Café.

Stephani Williams/The Runner. On Tuesday, September 3, 2019, Brandy Plaat, a Biology major, stocks up on fruit at the pop-up Food Pantry. Located near the Student Union and the Café.

Stephani Williams/The Runner. On Tuesday, September 3, 2019, Brandy Plaat, a Biology major, stocks up on fruit at the pop-up Food Pantry. Located near the Student Union and the Café.

Stephani Williams/The Runner. On Tuesday, September 3, 2019, Brandy Plaat, a Biology major, stocks up on fruit at the pop-up Food Pantry. Located near the Student Union and the Café.

Ashley Balcaceres, Feature Writer

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The Food Pantry here at the University is at work daily helping students to comabt Food Insecurity. “Four out of ten CSUB students experience some kind of food insecurity,” says Fernando Miranda, a senior at California State University of Bakersfield and Food Pantry Graduate Student Leader. Food insecurity is just another label for people who cannot afford to buy food, and it can happen to anyone at any time. In response to the high number of students experiencing food insecurity, the university opened the CSUB Food Pantry on Sep. 18, 2017. The Food Pantry is available to all attending students and faculty. It is located between parking lot M, the Student Union, and the Runner Cafe. The pantry is open all week, Monday through Friday, during set times. The CSUB Food Pantry is administered by the CSUB Food and Housing Security Committee, the Sustainability Department, and the Associated Students, Inc. 

  The pantry has a system set up where everyone is allocated 16 points each week. No matter what day of the week students visit the pantry, these points refresh every Monday. With the points, students can get a variety of items available at the pantry. Anyone using the pantry should bring their own reusable bag and must show their CSUB ID. The pantry has all kinds of items: canned vegetables, bread, cereal, hygiene products, and fresh produce.

  The Pop-Up Produce Pantry happens every Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A table is set up with fresh produce either grown in CSUB’s Edible Garden, or donated from various places like Haggin Oaks and F St. Farmers Market. This is invaluable to people who cannot always get fresh produce because of the fact that stores prices have increased for the same produce that has been donated or grown at CSUB.

  Food insecurity is something that not everyone is comfortable about talking about. There are some students who would never talk about their food insecurity because they feel embarrassed. There are others who do not have any problems at all admitting that there are times when they need help, especially if the food does not only feed them but family members as well. One volunteer at the pantry, Marisol Luna, an educational counseling and student affairs major, says that the pantry really helps her, especially during the winter months when her parents are not working as much. Luna volunteers at the pantry not only because she uses it at times, but because she “likes the message that they are sending.” Luna admits to, “mostly us[ing] the pantry for the fresh produce, especially the fruits.” While she does admit to not using the pantry for the other available resources, the fresh produce is something she cannot deny due to the fact that she can get an unlimited amount of fresh produce when they put up their Pop-Up Produce Pantry.

  Students who do not need to use the Food Pantry can still help by either volunteering at the pantry, in the Edible Garden, or by donating items. Anyone can donate to the pantry provided the donations meet the guidelines available at the pantry’s website. The pantry accepts non-perishable food items, non-expired food items that are unopened, fresh produce, and bags for those who cannot bring their own. The Food Pantry is one of the ways CSUB is striving to help fight against food insecurity. CSUB’s mission is to give everyone the privilege to have healthy, fresh, foods to eat. The Food Pantry’s hours are subject to change, so keep an eye out on your student email for updates.